J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Steven Lund Gives October JRCLS Leadership Conference Keynote Address: "Heavenly Father, Come Lawyer With Me"

Steven J. Lund was the keynote speaker at the Thursday luncheon of the 2015 JRCLS Annual Leadership Conference at Brigham Young University. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Nu Skin Enterprises as well as the executive director of the company’s Nourish the Children initiative, which has facilitated the donation of millions of meals to malnourished children around the world. Additionally, Lund serves on the executive board for the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation.
Before joining Nu Skin Enterprises, Lund was an attorney with a private law firm specializing in litigation and product liability law. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School (1983). 
Lund began by pointing out that if you believe in the JRCLS mission statement, then you believe that Heavenly Father actually cares what you do for a living; you believe that Heavenly Father wants to engage himself in your everyday life. He grew up in California, went to BYU, and served a mission to Holland. Rather than going back to school following his mission, he had a strong impression to join the army. He followed the impression and, with some fear and trepidation, he found himself in basic training. 
There was no other light that came with this impression to join the army other than to just do it. In following that impression, he had a transformative experience. Part of his training was taking his turn doing night watch under a firelight to insure that the building did not catch on fire. He was up one night on “fire guard,” wondering what he was doing and why he was there.  While pondering under the firelight and worrying about his decision to join the army, he heard a sentence come out of him like a prayer to Heavenly Father. The words that came out of his mouth were: “Come soldier with me.” The testimony that he gained that night helped to ease all of the burdens of running through the sand dunes with guns. Since then, for Brother Lund, every single thing that matters in his life flowed from following that impression to go to basic training. He came back to BYU as a 24-year-old sophomore. He graduated in communications and went to law school. 
During his first year in law school he was pressed to get a clerkship with a firm. He got a clerkship in a small law office in Farmington, New Mexico. He had never been in a law office before law school. He had no idea what lawyers did. He showed up at this law firm and got a file handed to him from a contract city attorney. He was told that there was a defect in a municipal code that was part of a litigation matter and the other side in a case was exploiting that defect in the code. He was told if they lose this case, the city will lose 100 more just like it and more. As a green law clerk with one year of law school experience, he was told to head to the law library and come up with a solution. He looked around at the law library books and nothing looked familiar or helpful. He sat down and read the file again and had a sense of doom.  He found himself again as though he was under that firelight in basic training. He was pleading for a miracle. He heard himself say: “Heavenly Father, come clerk with me.” He read the file again and started to work. He ended up writing a memo that turned into a brief with an argument about how the defective code could be applied successfully. This was an obscure legal case in an obscure place, but this experience taught Lund that Heavenly Father will go to obscure places and help on obscure issues. 
Lund shared a story about NuSkin. NuSkin had been selling a product that was licensed from an Italian firm. It worked so well that other companies decided they wanted to license the product. It became clear to the Italian firm that they had struck a bad deal by offering exclusivity to NuSkin when now they could make much more money elsewhere. The Italians scheduled a meeting in New York City. The senior chairman of this pharmaceutical company was also in attendance. They claimed that Nu Skin was in breach of the agreement and they wanted to cancel their license that gave NuSkin the exclusive right to use this product. Lund felt the weight of the world was on his shoulders. He was alone in that large gathering. Hundreds of employees and thousands of peoples’ livelihoods would be in jeopardy if he failed and lost the license to the product. In his hotel room, he prayed, “Heavenly Father, come lawyer with me.”
They spent an hour regaling him with reasons why Nu Skin was in default. He turned to the elderly Chairman when they were done. He walked the Chairman through all the facts. At the end of the meeting, the Chairman said to all his colleagues, “The facts are not on our side.” Now, some 25 years later, NuSkin is still selling that product. Lund learned that Heavenly Father will engage himself in our lives if we just try to be good and if we open ourselves to that. He will enlarge us more than we are.
By Tom Isaacson

Posted: November 16, 2015